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Old     (highrock)      Join Date: Apr 2008       03-24-2009, 8:02 PM Reply   
I have a project for my Entrepreneurship class and I am doing the idea of starting a board shop. This is just all for school and not real, at least not yet. I need input from anyone about what things you like and would like to see at a board shop.

This would be located Water front and offer several board lines along with clothes and any gear related to the sport. We would also have drinks and snacks for shoppers and people out on the lake.

The idea is to be able to give lessons along with free(As long as you buy a board) demos so right there at the store without having to leave since there would always be a wakeboard boat on the water.

Lessons would be geared not only for kids but have late evening sessions for adults who work.

Any input is appreciated and I am looking to see what everyone likes and what things would set it apart to make all local riders shop here and get some internet buyers also.

Old     (jon_a)      Join Date: Feb 2003       03-24-2009, 8:36 PM Reply   
I think you've got some good ideas for sure. You must have a demo program. In order to be profitable you will need to be an Internet dealer as well. Be sure to carry more than one board line to give people options. Everything associated with the sport is great to have as well. These things will include clothing, sun glasses, shoes, etc.

One thing to really consider is your overhead though. If you plan on being on the water be ready to fork out the money to either buy or rent. I know where I'm located a small shop on the water is at least $6k a month. Also, if you plan on giving people demo pulls there is at least a $40k boat. You will also have to have plenty of employees, 2-3 pro shop guys, a boat driver, at least 2 coaches, etc.

You then have to look at advertising which you can spend a ton in. Have a great website and don't focus much on phone book ads. Be prepared to sponsor local events as well.

Hope I have helped a little. As far as more ideas for your shop, make it YOUR shop. Do what you want to do with it.
Old     (highrock)      Join Date: Apr 2008       03-24-2009, 8:43 PM Reply   
I actually worked as a salesman at the local boat dealer this past summer and have a good relationship with him. He has an old Marina down at the lake that is the "Store" for the project. Rent being less than $1,000 per month.

Also have the boat under control also with having a demo and working with that dealer to keep a new boat every year essentially for free (depending on the economy) and helping him promote that brand.

Thanks for the help so far!
Old     (maleyb)      Join Date: Oct 2007       03-24-2009, 9:00 PM Reply   

I actually have an entrepreneurship degree, so I've had a lot of those types of classes. I just opened a shop with a lot of the things you are talking about. Give me a call any time if I can help.

Old     (eccpaint)      Join Date: Feb 2002       03-24-2009, 9:09 PM Reply   
You are talking about a ton of money. Plan on $5K - $10K per board line, sunglasses $2500 per line (namebrand), sandles $3500, shoes $3500, clothing $3K -$4K per line. Oh and don't forget about life jackets, suntan lotion, DVDs, fat sacks, key chains etc. You will also need a computer system AND software, glass display case, display racks, hangers, price tag gun, slatwall with the hooks to go with it. ANd maybe a manequine or two. You also will need to spend money on a website. If you are going to sell much on the internet, you cannot skimp here. $3K - $8K is not unheard of. You might want to spend some money on a light up sign $4K. Don't forget to pay your rent, phone bill, internet connection, electric, insurance to cover your product, liability insurance for the demos & lessons and trash pick up. Oh you are going to have a grand opening and let everybody know about it $2K for advertising (that's a low estimate). Be sure and consider going to the boat show so that you can pay about $1K to sell your stuff at cost or less.
Other than that opening a shop is cheap!
Old     (johnm_ttu)      Join Date: Jul 2005       03-24-2009, 10:38 PM Reply   
You should probably consider trying to get exclusive dealership agreements. Generally speaking you have to sacrifice carrying other lines so that you can order enough product to keep a rep from selling to another competitor in your immediate vicinity.

Your location sounds like it has great potential for exploiting the wakeboard market niche. The rent is cheap and the location is more of a destination than a shopping center. People generally go to a wakeboard shop to buy wakeboards rather than clothes. Carrying an assortment of clothes and stocking enough sizes is a huge investment. Like Greg said expect 3k-4k per line of clothes per season. There are 4 seasonal offering for most mfg's and to keep it fresh you have to have high volumes. You can easily end up ordering $15,000 worth of clothes from a single mfg in a single year.

What are your competitive priorities? It seems like you have a lot of different activities that are designed to bring in revenue. Be the best at one thing rather than average at three things.

I would probably scrap the idea of using a boat for the demos and invest in a system 2.0 cable from sesitec or little brother cable from sielbahn. These would reduce the overhead associated with the boat demo/coaching structure. You would also be able to expand your market beyond people who currently have access to a boat with the cable system.
Old     (tommmyd)      Join Date: Jan 2009       03-25-2009, 2:22 AM Reply   
Your idea is actually just add camps, weekend bed and breakfast/lessons/riding lights on the lake... right up in the Bellingham, Wa area, only problem is it's not year round!
Old     (buffalow)      Join Date: Apr 2002       03-26-2009, 1:56 PM Reply   
you can get a entrepreneurship degree? is that's just called the school of hard knocks? I have been a business owner/operator for most of my life and my degrees never help me one bit.

Anyways, the key to the wake shop business model is brand name merch and soft goods. Starting a business in this economy is far different than years past. There is much less competition, much less availabile profit and it is much tighter to get money. If you have the money and a good business plan, there is still money to be made, but much less than in the past...for now. Once the market comes back, however long that takes, the guys that are still in business will have a huge opportunity and upside.

Good luck with the project. There is a ton of people on WW that have started their own shops and would be a huge help.
Old    ajmac            03-26-2009, 2:53 PM Reply   
I'm considering trying to start a shop as well. One thing I have noticed is that in the action sports community the fashion is blending with the main stream fashions. One thing I am trying to figure out is making someone who just wants to buy cool clothes feel as/if not more comfortable in the shop as a kid who just walked into the shop after school. If the hipster wanting to buy some skinny jeans and chuck taylors feels like shopping at a board shop is cool, then I think the shop can do well.


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